The purpose of the Risk Management Centers is to reduce, as far as possible, the effects of meteorological phenomena on the region. Photo: Padrón, Abel

PINAR DEL RÍO.– The installation of 11 risk management centers and more than 52 early warning points are part of Pinar del Río’s strategy to mitigate the impact of phenomena such as hurricanes, which frequently affect this region.

Located in the municipalities of Sandino, Mantua, Guane, San Juan y Martínez, Pinar del Río, Consolación del Sur, Viñales, Los Palacios, Minas de Matahambre and La Palma, with an additional center at the provincial level, the centers facilitate the work of Defense Councils, while guaranteeing adequate information for locals in the face of the threat of disaster situations.

Equipped with means for communication with the rest of the territory, the facilities include an electric plant, shortwave radio and loudspeaker, as well as means of protection.

Ivonne Osmaydi Mitjans, director of the Provincial Risk Management Center, explained that it facilitates disaster prevention and mitigation measures in anticipation of tropical cyclones, by providing the population with the necessary knowledge to act to reduce the impact of such natural phenomena.

She noted that the centers were created following an idea of the National Civil Defense General Staff, and funded by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and other non-governmental organizations.

In a region that has been hit by more than 150 tropical storms since 1900, the project places the westernmost Cuban province in better conditions to confront hurricanes, she added.

It also contributes to the perfecting of the meteorological network and the strengthening of equipment for wind speed measurement, together with the modernization of the weather stations and radar located in Cabo de San Antonio, currently undergoing repairs.

The province has seen studies to assess possible dangers, vulnerabilities and risks linked to flooding due to heavy rains; coastal flooding due to sea penetration; strong winds, and other phenomena such as seismic activity in the historic center of the city of Pinar del Río.

Governed by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment, (Citma), studies are ongoing regarding epizootics, rural fires and landslides, in order to ascertain risks and vulnerabilities and propose measures for their reduction.